Byzantine Empress. She was the mistress of the Emperor Leo VI, who married her in 906 AD in the hope that she would bare him a legitimate son. By then she was already the mother of the future Emperor Constantine VII, but the marriage was considered uncanonical by the church and was forbidden by the Patriarch, Nicholas Mystikos. The pair married anyway and had Nicholas removed from office. When Leo died in 912 AD his brother Alexander succeeded him as ruler, reinstated Nicholas and had Zoe expelled from the palace. When Alexander died a year later she returned, but was forced by Nicholas to enter a convent. Nicholas soon became unpopular for making concessions to the Bulgarians and Zoe overthrew him in 914 AD to become Empress herself. She ruled with the support of her favourite, the general Leo Phokas the Elder, and immediately on coming to power revoked the earlier concessions to Simeon I of Bulgaria and revoked the marriage between his daughter and Constantine VII. This provoked another war with Bulgaria, resulting in a number of heavy defeats for Byzantium. These failures, combined with the necessity of an unfavourable treaty to secure the support of the Sicilian Arabs in putting down an uprising in Italy, weakened her position until, in 919 AD; the Admiral Romanos Lekjapenos was able to seize the throne. She was forced to retire to a convent where she died at an unknown date soon afterwards.
Bio by: js